Slow progress in Canadian rail union talks raises concerns

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A deadlock in collective bargaining negotiations between Canadian rail companies and the Teamsters Canadian Rail Conference (TCRC) may lead to a lockout or strike by rail conductors and engineers, potentially beginning May 22.  A strike vote is underway from April 8 to May 1. The conflict centres around disagreements on salaries and mandatory rest periods, affecting about 9,000 workers across Canadian National Railway (CN) and Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC). A strike could severely disrupt intermodal services, impacting approximately 50,000 TEUs per week according to the Journal of Commerce. Both rail companies have proposed new terms aimed at modernizing work schedules and improving work-life balance, but the union has expressed dissatisfaction, feeling the proposals might erode established worker rights. Negotiations continue with the assistance of a federal conciliator, with a potential cooling-off period beginning May 1.

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